Monday, January 23, 2017
Wilson's first chapter of Consilience is addressed by the author as nearly a stand-alone piece in an ostensibly fulfilled exploration of Self, scrutinizing details of his immediate environment through passion and hopeful career-pathed educational proceedings and in doing so embracing that exponential internal freedom indicative of a man absent belief in higher order—supplanting the suspension of reality that seems sewn in to religious doctrine with a very separate and infinitely more complex hierarchical system: that of the classification of species. This is so important! For any human breaching their own bounds of existence through science, either purely by interest in the unknown or by familial trade (that is, elders' financial insistence or else obligation to continuing the work within which one was raised to appreciate), to cast on to the self any doubts regarding preexisting constructs of beliefs or general knowledge is a powerful moment, and a necessary one. We cannot venture to obtain knowledge of the world without understanding that we do not, and cannot, ever truly know anything. This is especially pertinent in matters of faith, a most anti-empirical practice at which any Pure Scientist would likely balk. C P Snow obliquely expounds on this concept through a rejection of self: claiming as an ostensible third-party that the "literary intellectuals" refer to themselves modernly (or so modernly as technically antique works can amount to) simply as "intellectuals", a pretense that solidifies the fabricated—and unfounded—philosophy that the arts and the sciences are not only opposites, but rivals, when this should be shown as farthest from our reality! In light of this, incidentally, Snow himself places quotes about the word "intellectual" in that context, while consistently terming those same literary individuals "non-scientists", in his work absent those quotation marks. This is an interesting appeal to the same realm of the psyche that he is calmly harping on that pits against each other the only-supposedly-disconnected worlds of the library and the laboratory. They extend the Adjacent, and meet in fact in the very same dwelling space!—the same room! His critiquing is laborious, littered with citations to well-established names of either discipline without truly embarking on analysis of any. At root, though, Snow has subtly embedded in to the mind of the reader the concept of an interspersed collection of members in pursuits of both internal and external intelligence, cementing a line between both while abandoning his own post as a literary figure to resist the self-aggrandizing (though, of course, all writers are ever ego-tripping).